Diet Quality and Health of the Poor

Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN)

Stunting, a result of chronic malnutrition, is highly prevalent in Zambia, affecting one million children under five years old (45%). In Mumbwa District, Central Province, where the Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project will take place, the prevalence rises to 59%. Chronic malnutrition is caused by a combination of insufficient good-quality food, poor health, and inadequate care practices, particularly in the first 1000 days of life.

The RAIN project, collaborative effort between Concern Worldwide and IFPRI, aims to reduce the prevalence of stunting in children through integrated agriculture, health and nutrition interventions during this critical period from conception until 24 months of age. Concern Worldwide is the main project implementer, and IFPRI will lead the monitoring, learning and evaluation (MLE) component from 2011 to 2015. Other stakeholders include Mumbwa Child Development Agency (a local community-based organisation), the Zambia Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and the Zambia Ministry of Health.

The RAIN project will support effective agriculture interventions to increase year-round availability of and access to good-quality foods at household level through improved production at homestead level, and to optimise health and care through delivery of social behaviour change communication around optimal nutrition and health practices. In doing so, it will generate evidence of the best approaches and document optimal impact pathways. A unique facet of this project is that it will work to develop a model that realigns the actors at the District level who are involved in service delivery to promote synergy in their work and optimise impact on stunting. The approach will focus on addressing the multi-sectoral causes of malnutrition and on learning how to effectively address the challenges of multi-sectoral collaboration.

The project will rigorously evaluate the impact of the RAIN model, will monitor process indicators to understand the intended impact pathways, and will document and disseminate learning from the project at local, national and international level.

Key Publications